The Cocktail Hour Garden

The Cocktail Hour Garden

Imagine sitting on your deck or patio, enjoying the sea breezes while the sun goes down. Now think about the view from this spot on your property. Are you surrounded by flowers and foliage that glow in the late-evening light? Does the fragrance of flowers drift in with the winds? With the right plants in your landscape, you can have a magical, perfume scented retreat where you’ll relax with your favorite beverage.

Tip #1: Include several annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees in your plantings that have white flowers or variegated foliage. See the list below for just a few suggestions.

Tip #2: Plant patio pots with herbs that will scent the area and provide ingredients for your cocktails or teas. Plant various mints, lemon verbena, lemon balm, scented geraniums, and basil in containers or an herb bed next to the area.

Tip #3: Light up a tree. Be they small or large, most trees have beautiful forms. Your electrician can install a ground-level flood light that will illuminate a nearby tree, adding instant drama to your garden.

Tip #4: If you’re being bugged, use Essential 1 Mosquito repellant to control pesky insects. This product is made from essential oils and botanical extracts and it is effective at knocking down populations of mosquitos, ants and other creepy-crawlies.

The dappled willow (Salix integra 'Hakuro-nishiki') is almost an essential cocktail hour tree. It is small in size and has bright, white foliage. Plant some variegated hosta and white flowering plants underneath and you'll have a pretty, evening landscape whether your tree is illuminated or not.

Cocktail Hour Garden Plant Suggestions

Salix integra ‘Hakuro-nishiki’ (dappled willow)
Cornus kusa ‘Wolf Eyes’ (wolf eyes dogwood)
Variegated maples

Cornus Alba ‘Ivory Halo’ (variegated red-twig dogwood)
Hydrangea quercifolia (oak-leaf hydrangea)
Hydrangea ‘Blushing Bride’
Clethera alnifolia (summersweet) ‘Hummingbird’ is a short variety with fragrant flowers

Actaea simplex ‘Brunette’ (purple-leaf snakeroot)
Hosta – variegated or varieties with white, fragrant flowers
Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’ (shasta daisy)
Phlox paniculata ‘David’ (phlox David)

Lobularia “Snow Princess” (Snow Princess alyssum)
Nicotiana sylvestris
Nicotiana alata
Ipomoea alba (moonflower vine)



  1. Richard Sadowski on July 2, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Was looking for dappled willow and found your blog and website- outstanding. Very well done, easy to navigate and great ideas.

    • CLFornari on July 2, 2013 at 9:34 pm

      Thanks, Richard. If you’re on Cape Cod, come into the nursery and take a look at the dappled willow trees we have in stock. If you’re in another part of the country, we hope you find one of these great small trees!

  2. Diane Cooney on July 8, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Where do I get Essential 1 mosquito repellent?

    • CLFornari on July 8, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      We carry Essential 1 Mosquito repellent in the store. If you’re on Cape Cod come on down to Hyannis. If you’re not, call the store and we’ll send you some! 508-775-8703 – ask for Craig and tell him that you read about the produce on the Country Garden blog.

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